How to Make Wooden Table Legs: A Beginner's Guide

Are you looking to add a personal touch to your furniture by making your own wooden table legs? With the right tools and materials, creating your own table legs can be a fun and rewarding project. Not only will you have a unique piece of furniture, but you’ll also save money by not having to purchase pre-made legs.

One of the first steps in making wooden table legs is selecting the type of wood you want to use. Popular choices include oak, maple, and cherry, but you can also use other types of wood depending on your preferences. Once you have your wood, you’ll need to cut it into the desired length and shape. This can be done using a saw or a lathe, depending on the design you have in mind.

After cutting your wood to size, you’ll need to sand it down to create a smooth surface. This will help ensure that your legs are even and free of any rough edges. You can also add decorative details to your legs, such as carving or routing, to give them a unique look. Whether you’re a seasoned woodworker or a beginner, making your own wooden table legs is a fun and rewarding project that can add a personal touch to your furniture.

Understanding the Basics of Table Legs

When it comes to making wooden table legs, it’s important to understand the basics before you start. Here are a few things to keep in mind:


The most common material for making table legs is wood. You can choose from a variety of wood types, including pine, oak, maple, and cherry. Different woods have different characteristics, so be sure to choose a wood that fits your needs. For example, pine is a soft wood that is easy to work with, while oak is a hard wood that is durable and strong.

Size and Shape

Table legs come in different sizes and shapes. The size and shape of your table legs will depend on the size and shape of your table. For example, if you’re making a small side table, you might use thinner, shorter legs than if you’re making a large dining table.


The style of your table legs will also depend on the style of your table. There are many different styles of table legs to choose from, including turned legs, tapered legs, and straight legs. Consider the overall look you’re going for and choose a style that fits.


Joinery is the process of connecting two pieces of wood together. There are many different joinery techniques you can use to attach your table legs to your table top. Some common techniques include mortise and tenon joints, dowel joints, and pocket hole joints. Each technique has its own pros and cons, so be sure to choose the right one for your project.


Once you’ve made your table legs, you’ll need to finish them. Finishing helps protect the wood and gives it a polished look. You can choose from a variety of finishes, including stain, paint, or clear coat. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the finish you choose.

By understanding the basics of table legs, you’ll be well on your way to creating a beautiful and functional piece of furniture.

Choosing the Right Wood

When it comes to making table legs from wood, choosing the right type of wood is crucial. Here are some factors to consider when selecting the wood for your table legs:

Strength and Durability

Table legs need to be strong and durable enough to support the weight of the tabletop and withstand regular use. Hardwoods like oak, maple, and cherry are popular choices for table legs because they are strong and durable.


The wood you choose for your table legs should complement the overall design of your table. Consider the color, grain pattern, and texture of the wood when making your selection.


Some types of wood are easier to work with than others. For example, softwoods like pine and cedar are easier to cut and shape than hardwoods. However, hardwoods are more durable and better suited for table legs.


The cost of the wood you choose for your table legs will depend on the type of wood and the size of the legs. Hardwoods are generally more expensive than softwoods, but they offer better strength and durability.

Overall, when choosing the wood for your table legs, it’s important to consider the strength, appearance, workability, and cost of the wood. By taking these factors into account, you can select the right wood for your project and create table legs that are both functional and beautiful.

Tools and Materials Needed

Essential Tools

When it comes to making wooden table legs, you’ll need a few essential tools to get the job done. Here are some of the tools you’ll need:

Tool Purpose
Table Saw To cut the wood to size
Planer To smooth the wood surfaces
Router To round off the sharp corners
Drill To make holes for dowels or screws
Clamps To hold the wood in place while you work

Required Materials

In addition to the essential tools, you’ll also need some materials to make the table legs. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Wood: Choose a type of wood that is strong and durable, such as oak, maple, or cherry. You’ll need enough wood to make the number of legs required for your table.
  • Sandpaper: You’ll need sandpaper of various grits to smooth the wood surfaces.
  • Wood glue: You’ll need wood glue to attach the leg pieces together.
  • Dowels or screws: Depending on the joinery method you choose, you’ll need either dowels or screws to attach the legs to the tabletop.

By having the essential tools and required materials on hand, you’ll be well-equipped to make your own wooden table legs.

Preparation Process

Before you start making wooden table legs, there are a few things you need to do to prepare. In this section, we will go over the two main steps of the preparation process: measuring and marking, and cutting the wood.

Measuring and Marking

The first step in making wooden table legs is to measure and mark the wood. This will ensure that your legs are the correct size and shape. Here are the steps to follow:

  1. Measure the length of the table legs you need. Use a tape measure to measure from the floor to the bottom of the table. Make sure to measure each leg individually, as floors are often uneven.

  2. Mark the wood where you will make your cuts. Use a pencil to mark the length of each leg on the wood. Make sure to measure twice and mark once to avoid mistakes.

  3. Use a square to make sure your marks are straight. A square is a tool that helps you make straight lines. Place the square against the wood and draw a line along the edge of the square.

Cutting the Wood

Once you have measured and marked your wood, it is time to cut it. Here are the steps to follow:

  1. Use a saw to cut the wood to the correct length. A hand saw or circular saw will work for this step. Make sure to follow your marks carefully and cut straight.

  2. Sand the edges of the wood. Use sandpaper to smooth out any rough edges or splinters. This will make your table legs look nicer and prevent anyone from getting hurt.

  3. Repeat the process for each leg. Make sure to measure and mark each leg individually, as they may be slightly different lengths.

By following these steps, you will be able to prepare your wood for making table legs. Once you have completed the preparation process, you can move on to the next steps of making your table legs.

Assembling the Table Legs

Once you have cut and sanded your table legs, it’s time to assemble them. This process involves joining the pieces together and securing the joints.

Joining the Pieces

To join the pieces of your table legs, you have a few options. One common method is to use a mortise and tenon joint. This involves cutting a rectangular hole (mortise) in one piece and a corresponding protrusion (tenon) on the other piece. The tenon is then inserted into the mortise and secured with glue or dowels.

Another option is to use a dowel joint. This involves drilling holes in both pieces of wood and inserting dowels to connect them. This method is simpler than a mortise and tenon joint and can still provide a strong connection.

Securing the Joints

Once you have joined the pieces of your table legs, it’s important to secure the joints. This will ensure that your table legs are stable and sturdy.

One option is to use wood glue. Apply a generous amount of glue to the joint, then clamp the pieces together until the glue dries. This will create a strong bond between the pieces of wood.

Another option is to use screws or bolts. This method is particularly useful if you want to be able to disassemble your table legs for storage or transportation. Simply drill pilot holes and insert screws or bolts through the joint.

No matter which method you choose, be sure to sand any rough edges or excess glue before continuing with the assembly process.

By following these steps, you’ll be able to assemble your wooden table legs with ease.

Finishing Touches

After completing the construction of your wooden table legs, it’s time to give them a finishing touch. This step is essential as it not only enhances the natural beauty of the wood but also provides protection against wear and tear. In this section, we will discuss two crucial steps to give your table legs a perfect finish.

Sanding the Legs

Before applying any finish, it’s essential to sand the legs to achieve a smooth and even surface. Sanding also removes any rough spots, bumps, or scratches that may have occurred during the construction process. Follow these steps to sand your table legs:

  1. Start with a coarse-grit sandpaper (60-80 grit) to remove any rough spots or bumps. Sand in the direction of the wood grain.
  2. Move to a medium-grit sandpaper (120-150 grit) to smooth out the surface.
  3. Finish with a fine-grit sandpaper (220 grit) to achieve a smooth and even surface.

Remember to wipe off any sawdust with a clean cloth before moving to the next step.

Applying the Finish

Once you’ve sanded the legs, it’s time to apply the finish. There are various types of finishes available, such as oil-based, water-based, and lacquer. Choose the one that suits your needs and preferences. Follow these steps to apply the finish:

  1. Apply the finish in a well-ventilated area and wear protective gloves and a mask.
  2. Use a brush or a cloth to apply the finish in the direction of the wood grain.
  3. Apply a thin coat and let it dry completely before applying the next coat.
  4. Sand lightly with a fine-grit sandpaper (220 grit) between coats to achieve a smooth finish.
  5. Apply 2-3 coats of finish for the best results.

Remember to let the finish dry for at least 24 hours before using the table legs.

By following these simple steps, you can give your wooden table legs a perfect finish that not only enhances their natural beauty but also provides protection against wear and tear.

Safety Precautions to Consider

When working with woodworking tools, it is important to take safety precautions to avoid accidents and injuries. Here are some safety tips to consider when making wooden table legs:

Wear Safety Equipment

Wearing appropriate safety equipment is crucial when working with woodworking tools. Safety glasses should be worn at all times to protect your eyes from flying debris. Hearing protection should be used when operating loud tools such as routers and surface planers. Latex gloves can also be worn when applying finishes.

Proper Dressing

Wearing appropriate clothing is also important when working with woodworking tools. Loose clothing should be avoided as it can get caught in machinery. Jewelry should also be removed to avoid it getting caught in machinery. Closed-toe shoes should be worn to protect your feet.

Use Tools Correctly

Using tools correctly is important to avoid accidents. Make sure to read the instructions for each tool and use them as intended. Never use a tool for a purpose it was not designed for.

Keep Work Area Clean and Organized

A clean and organized work area can help prevent accidents. Make sure to keep your work area free of clutter and debris. Tools should be put away when not in use.

Take Breaks

Taking breaks is important to prevent fatigue and avoid accidents. Make sure to take regular breaks and stretch to avoid muscle strain.

By following these safety tips, you can ensure a safe and enjoyable woodworking experience when making wooden table legs.

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